I am very happy. I have a Distinction grade in one of my Business Analytics subjects. It justifies my decision to study again. Did I make this decision in a state of flow or was it a conscious process? Did I spend enough time thinking about it before committing? Why is knowing that important, and should it be?
Our decisions and what drives them
We make decisions every moment of the day. Some after deep thought, others just like that. We make decisions at work, at home, with or without people, and with or without support. Early on in my career, my manager told me not see everything black and white. Then, my approach to work was driven by the need for complete understanding of the circumstances around decisions and outcomes. As a Human Resource professional I felt this was important but I later understood that I overlooked an important factor: an individual’s justification for the decisions they make.
Decisions are driven by need or peer pressure, or gently nudged like the bee in Schiphol airport urinals, so men take better aim. Framed options tend to make our choices easier, like advertisements do, while other choices are for maximum reward. We are free to make choices, but these are not free from influence. So how do you know if your choice is the right one?
How important is it for decisions to be right?
The answer is that it is not actually that important to be completely sure before deciding. The key is to not be overly preoccupied with making it the right one. I now aim to make decisions in a flow state, where my decisions and activities become intrinsically valuable, or more rewarding and meaningful for myself.
How to make rewarding and meaningful decision
There are several individual approaches to achieve this flow state.
- Focus on body and mind feedback when you are doing a structured activity
- Focus on your thoughts at that moment and remember previous successes
- Communicate past experiences in conversations or in writing
- Commit to life-long learning
- Practice a focused approach in activities, making each step a deliberate one
This article provides further insight on achieving a state of flow and positive emotion.
I usually achieve flow on my bushwalking hikes, doing yoga, and now while I am focussed on writing this blog post. I am also certain that my Distinction grade is due to achieving a state of flow during study periods.
Some decisions need more thinking
It is important to note that there are decisions which should not be taken in a flow-state, like those that are life-changing or have major financial impact. Decisions with a clear Yes or No answer, or that are clear on what is right and what is wrong, and have immediate impact on yourself and others if it is the wrong one. These should be assessed from many angles and be considered on all potential outcomes.
Read more on informed decision-making here.